Mother earth suffers heatstroke

19 February 2007

Academic lineage: Emma Lambert-Porter, a graduand with strong family links to UCT.

Global warming may "very likely" be caused by man's burning of fossil fuels, and it will be unstoppable for centuries, says a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - a group of hundreds of scientists and representatives of 113 governments - released in Paris on 2 February.

The language in the new report marks an escalation from the panel's last report in 2001, which said global warming was "likely" caused by human activity.

For the next two decades a warming of 0.2 °C per decade is projected, while sea levels are estimated to rise between 17.78cm and 58.42cm by the end of the century. An additional 9.9cm-19.8cm are possible if polar ice sheets continue to melt.

UCT's Professor Bruce Hewitson, of the Climate Systems Analysis Group in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, is one of the lead authors of the report. Hewitson was attending the IPCC plenary meeting in Paris, where the report was released.

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